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UNITED STATES 1 Jan 2013 Lincoln delivered Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago
President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves of the Confederate states o

January 1, 2013 - NULL

UNITED STATES 1 Jan 2013 Lincoln delivered Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago
President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves of the Confederate states on 1 Jan 1863, during the American Civil War. The 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated with re-enactments of the reading and with a wealth of retrospectives, falls in the same year as the 50th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King's iconic "I have a Dream" speech. King observed in the speech that 100 years after Emancipation, "the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of

UNITED STATES 1 Jan 2013 Lincoln delivered Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago
President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves of the Confederate states on 1 Jan 1863, during the American Civil War. The 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated with re-enactments of the reading and with a wealth of retrospectives, falls in the same year as the 50th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King's iconic "I have a Dream" speech. King observed in the speech that 100 years after Emancipation, "the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity." One-hundred-and-fifty-years after Emancipation, the chains of poverty still claim a disproportionate number of African Americans.

Bloomberg reported in September that millions of African-Americans' tenuous hold on prosperity has slipped since President Barack Obama reached the White House at the start of 2009. The recession and anemic recovery, while painful for most Americans, according to the news service, have been especially punishing for blacks, stripping jobs, homes and wealth from people who have historically lagged. It adds that today's 14.1 percent black unemployment rate is almost twice the 7.4 percent white rate, and the racial gap -- after narrowing from 2005 to 2009 -- has widened since the recession's Jun 2009 end.

Obama is also faulted for tough new voter-identification laws that are likely to shrink African-American turnout at the polls from its 2008 peak of 65 per cent when the country votes to give him a second term - or not - in Nov 2012.

Lincoln believed that slaves should be emancipated as early as 1849. He advocated a program in which they would be freed gradually. Early in his presidency, still convinced that gradual emancipation was the best course, he tried to win over legislators. To gain support, he proposed that slave owners be compensated for giving up their "property." Support was not forthcoming. Encouraged by a Union victory over Confederate forces in a Sep 1862 battle, he issued a preliminary decree that stated freedom would be granted to the slaves in the Confederacy unless the rebellious states returned to the Union. No Confederate states took up the offer, and on Jan 1, Lincoln presented the Proclamation. It declared: "All persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."

The Proclamation didn't complete the journey to freedom for all the country's slaves, only those living in states not under Union control. The United States abolished slavery nationwide with the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution on 18 Dec 1865.

The City of Norwich in Connecticut is one of several with substantial plans for the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation. It will reenact the reading, with church and tower bells to be rung for one hour at Noon and a 100-cannon salute by military re-enactors. The city also hopes to commission the first Emancipation Proclamation Commemoration Bell, of bronze and 155 pounds. (WRITTEN SEP 2012)

RELATED READING:

Emancipation Proclamation document and text (US Gov. archive)
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/

Norwich making big plans for Emancipation Proclamation anniversary in 2013 (The Day 2 Jan 2012)
http://www.theday.com/article/20120102/NWS01/301029959/-1/NWS

First Black President Can't Help Blacks Stem Wealth Drop (Bloomberg 5 Sep 2012)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-05/first-black-president-can-t-help-blacks-stem-wealth-drop.html

Will African-American Voters Show Up for Barack Obama? (Daily Beast 7 Sep 2012)
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/07/will-african-american-voters-show-up-for-barack-obama.html

"I have a dream" speech (MLK speech reprinted in Chicago Tribune)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-mlk-ihaveadream,0,36081.story

MLK Nobel Peace Prize biography
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1964/king-bio.html

Date written/update: 2013-01-01